April 11, 2013
The 75th Pilgrimage will take place in historic Holly Springs this Friday through Sunday, April 12-14.
Set in the Antebellum Capitol of the Mid-South, the tour features selected antebellum homes hosted by costumed guides, local storytellers, organ recitals in the town’s historic churches, horse-drawn carriage rides, Civil War re-enactors, luncheons, a character-guided cemetery tour, arts and crafts and a Southern supper in the antebellum Montrose mansion.
Guests are invited to enjoy an authentic, pre-Civil War experience. Homes on tour this year include the historic Magnolias, circa 1852. Built by William F. Mason as a wedding present for his daughter, Elizabeth, this Gothic-style home features period furnishings, delicate crystal chandeliers and a circular staircase. The Tudor-arched entrance has a door bearing the marks of a bayonet that was thrust through it when the home was raided during the Civil War. This beautiful home was chosen as the primary filming location for the 1999 film “Cookie’s Fortune,” starring Glenn Close and Liv Tyler.
Also included on the tour are Finley Place (1859), Walthall Place (1848), and Montrose (1858), headquarters of the Holly Springs Garden Club, sponsors of the pilgrimage, which houses an arboretum featuring trees and plants native to Mississippi.
For the first year ever, Hedge Farm (1842) is featured on the tour. Hedge Farm, one of the best examples of a planter’s cottage in the state, sits on 175 acres of original farmland which was once part of a 2,000-acre plantation.
“This year is the 75th anniversary of one of the finest events Mississippi has to offer,” said Sarah Taylor, Holly Springs Garden Club president. “It is just as vital and special to our community now as it was 75 years ago. This year, we hope to entertain former pilgrimage royalty, guests who return year after year, and hopefully, many new guests who have never attended this extraordinary event before.”
Attractions this year include the Church of the Yellow Fever Martyrs (1841), First Presbyterian Church (1860), Christ Episcopal Church (1858), and First United Methodist Church (1849), with organ recitals to be held throughout the weekend, as well as the Marshall County Historical Museum, the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum, and the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center.
On Friday and Saturday, guests may make plans to enjoy the Plant it Pink Luncheon at the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery to benefit the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation. On Friday evening this year, guests may take part in the annual 5K, “Hoopskirts on the Highway,” which again partners with famed “Killer Kudzu 5K” to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life project. Afterwards, guests will enjoy the third annual “Screen on the Green,” on the stately grounds of Montrose for a big-screen viewing of “Fried Green Tomatoes” with free admission and concessions available.
“We are smoking a whole hog on the grounds this year, just like in the movie,” said Elizabeth Smith, garden club member. “We had a fantastic turnout last year and we get asked again and again to bring the event.”
Saturday will also feature “A Walk Through Time,” the celebrated guided tour through historic Hill Crest Cemetery and an arts and crafts fair on the square. That evening, the Holly Springs Garden Club will host Montrose Under the Moonlight, a dinner dance featuring a Southern supper under the stars at one of the town’s finest antebellum homes with tunes by The Plaintiffs from Memphis, Tenn.
Sunday’s guests are invited to a Southern tea on the grounds of Montrose with a tour of the home.
Throughout the weekend, guests are invited to attend the second annual Behind the Big House – a tour of Holly Springs’s seldom seen slave dwellings, including a historic interpretation by Joseph McGill with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Tickets will be available during Pilgrimage at the Marshall County Library (109 Gholson Avenue).
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